Relatively small Lake Lee continues to yield some of the biggest largemouth bass caught in the Carolinas this year.
During the past week the 175-acre municipal reservoir near Monroe has produced several lunkers, led by local angler Ryan Geraghty’s 81/2-pounder.
On Tuesday Trevor Morris of Monroe caught a 7-pound largemouth while fishing from a kayak.
Special regulations apply at Lake Lee, where the hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Anglers are restricted to boats of 20 feet or less with no more than 25 horsepower motors. However, larger boats are permitted if only an electric troll motor is used. There is a launch fee of $3 per boat, and a daily fishing permit is $1.50 per person.
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The lake is located off U.S. 601, just south of that highway’s intersection with U.S. 74. For further fishing information, phone 704-779-2558.
Lake Norman: Good for blue catfish in the 10-20 pound range lakewide, taking cut baits worked 10-30 feet deep. Plentiful white perch at creek mouths and in the backs of coves on Sabiki rigs. Hybrids in schools feeding on the surface off points during late afternoon, striking spoons cast to the jumps.
Lake Wylie: Very good for bream, mainly on crickets fished along the shoreline. Good for largemouth during early morning on buzzbaits, then on floating artificial worms and Senko lures. Good for catfish, especially channel cats. They’re being found mostly on the shallow flats, and cut shad is by far the best bait. Fair for crappie, which have moved to brushy cover 25 feet deep. The best crappie fishing is taking place at night under lights.
Mountain Island Lake: Excellent for bream along the shoreline on crickets and earthworms. Crappie around deep cover.
Union County Lakes: In addition to Lake Lee, Lakes Monroe and Twitty, along with Cane Creek Park, are yielding largemouth, just not so many big ones. Bream action is good at all four impoundments.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Best fishing continues to be for bream, with crickets, earthworms, small Beetlespin lures and popping bugs working at the chain’s five lower impoundments – High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. Continuing good for crappie at Badin. American shad are still hitting in the tailrace at Blewett Falls, taking jigs and shad darts.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Improving at James for walleye on crawlers cast to clay shoreline and retrieved slowly. Good for bream at Rhodhiss and Hickory, and fair for largemouth bass.
Rankin Lake: Very good for bream, fair-to-good for bass and catfish at the Gastonia municipal reservoir.
Hampton Lake,Yadkin County: Plentiful bream from areas where bedding is taking place. Good for catfish, but slowing slightly for largemouth.
Fontana Lake: Very good for walleye along the shoreline, especially 10-15 feet deep in pockets, on Wacky Worm lures and drop-shot rigs baited with crawlers and rubber minnows. Very good for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in areas where sourwood worms have fallen into the water from trees.
Lake Wateree: Good for crappie 15-25 feet down around brush at the mouths of creeks on both jigs and minnows.
Lake Murray: Fair to good for crappie, 15-25 feet deep around brush and docks on jigs tipped with minnows. Catfish in the backs of creeks and around humps and points on traditional baits. Fair for largemouth on deep points, with the bite varying widely from day to day.
Lake Thurmond: Good for stripers and hybrids during early morning on surface lures and flukes fished in the shallows. Later, they are taking free-lined live baits. Fair for crappie 15-20 feet around brushy cover.
Santee Cooper Lakes: Fair to good for largemouth around the base of cypress trees and at the edges of grass beds on a variety of lures.
Lake Hartwell: Fair to good for largemouth 15-25 feet deep off the shoreline on drop-shot rigs.
Lake Keowee: Good for largemouth and spotted bass. During early morning the bass are hitting topwater lures cast to shoals and flats, then moving deeper and taking drop-shot rigs worked 20-25 feet deep.
Lake Jocassee: Good for trout on shiners and spoons trolled 20-60 feet deep. Best catches have been made near the dam.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Good for spots in the surf, mostly in sloughs. Blues, croaker, Spanish mackerel and whiting at piers; Oregon Inlet: Bigeye tuna, dolphin and yellowfin tuna offshore, cobia closer in. White marlin boated and released; Hatteras Island: Excellent for cobia up to nearly 100 pounds, including some in the surf. Dolphin and blackfin tuna offshore. Continuing good in Pamlico Sound for red drum. Blues, croaker, pompano, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel and whiting in the surf from Salvo to Hatteras Village. The Spanish action at Cape Point has been especially good; Ocracoke Island: Continuing good for big red drum and puppy drum in the surf, along with blues, whiting and scattered flounder. Cobia continue to be caught at Ocracoke Inlet; Morehead City area: Excellent for cobia along the beach where Spanish mackerel also are showing in numbers. Big amberjack on light tackle around reefs and wrecks. Billfish, dolphin and wahoo offshore.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Spanish mackerel in schools almost everywhere, with an especially big concentration at the mouth of Shallotte Inlet. King mackerel are starting to show just offshore. Reds, trout and sheepshead at the Little River jetties. Speckled trout during early morning at piers on Gotcha plugs with some limit catches reported. Pier anglers also are catching blues and Spanish mackerel.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Blues, Spanish Mackerel and a few smallish flounder; Grand Strand area: Very good for black drum, black seabass and sheepshead at the Pawley Island Reef. Big reds and trout at the 3-Mile Reef. Spanish mackerel just off the beach and at piers. Good offshore for dolphin, blackfin tuna and wahoo at the Georgetown Hole; Charleston area: Good to excellent for dolphin offshore over 250-450 feet of water. Blackfin tuna and wahoo also are being caught; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Cobia at the Betsy Ross Reef. Flounder at Hunting Island Pier.